A “brave” new programme that tests a group of British children for unconscious racial bias will air later this year on Channel 4.
The two-part series will put a class of 11 and 12-year-old pupils through a series of tests at their London comprehensive school in a bid to discover why racial equality has yet to be achieved.
With the working title The Segregation Experiment, the multicultural class of year seven pupils will take part in games, exercises and activities, both inside and out of the classroom, that will challenge everything they thought they knew about race.
The programme is based on pioneering American schemes and the children will be led by leading multicultural education academics and scientists, Channel 4 said.
It will start with the pupils taking a bespoke version of the Harvard Implicit Association Test, considered a benchmark test for unconscious racial bias.
Social psychologist Professor Rhiannon Turner, Queens University Belfast, said that “tests have revealed that children as young as six are aware of racial differences but, as a society, we do not talk about them and often take a colour-blind approach to race.
“Is our failure to discuss race part of the problem?
“This ground-breaking experiment will look at if it is possible to eradicate bias.”
Channel 4’s head of factual entertainment Alf Lawrie said: “This brave series tackles head on the issue of unconscious racial bias.
“Its important findings apply beyond just schools, to society at large.”
The programme has been described as “gripping, shocking and funny in equal measure” by executive producer David DeHaney from production company Proper Content.
He added that “the kids really throw themselves in and attempt to tackle issues adults wouldn’t dare”.